by Sharon Cullen.
It's 1567 Edinburgh, turbulent times in Scottish history. Emma Howard, Lady-in-waiting and close confidante to Mary, Queen of Scots, wakes to find herself in the care of a stranger. Lord Darnley, wedded to Queen Mary, has just been murdered and it seems Emma might have seen something suspicious.
All that is moot because she was knocked unconscious as Kirk o’ Field exploded. The stranger, Englishman Tristan Fitzherbert, a spy for Queen Elizabeth had found Emma laying unconscious near to the source of the explosion and taken her to his printing works. Tristan has been printing seditious leaflets, stirring up the people of Edinburgh. This latest happening goes to the heart of the court and Lord Bothwell, Mary's undisputed advisor.
As Emma learns more, both her heart and deep friendship with Queen Mary will be tested.
As she keeps internally declaiming, if she'd only taken a carriage home that fatal night, all would be so different. Her ignorance of what was actually happening politically would have buffered her from the reality in many different ways.
The story focuses on the development of the relationship between Tristan and Emma, with the backdrop of these dangerous times during Mary's reign. I enjoyed this episode of All the Queen's Spies, although I felt the resolution of the story was almost too quick and the fascinating political happenings are overshadowed by the brewing romance/lust between Emma and Tristan. I must say that the bid for safety by Emma is quite heart stopping.
A NetGalley ARC